Five Things You May Not Know About Concussions


Would you know if your child had a concussion? Doctor’s from the Fairview Health Services Acute Injury Clinic in Blaine say it’s not always obvious. Here are several ways you can identify a concussion and take the appropriate steps to getting you child the care he or she needs.

1. More than one cause

Concussions are most commonly caused by a hit or bump to the head, but may also be caused by a hit or blow to the neck or body that transmits a force to the brain, such as a body check in hockey.

2. Not just a headache

Concussion symptoms can vary from patient to patient and can sometimes be hard to recognize.  Symptoms fall into four categories:

  • Physical symptoms: headache, dizziness, sensitivity to light and other visual symptoms such as  nausea, balance problems
  • Emotional symptoms: mood changes, irritability
  • Sleep symptoms: drowsiness and difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Cognitive symptoms: feeling “foggy,” memory problems, difficulty concentrating

If an athlete has symptoms of a concussion, they should be removed immediately from the game and not return to activity until they have been evaluated and cleared by a medical provider.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that affects the way your brain works at a cellular level – meaning there’s no obvious injury that you can see. MRI and CT scans are often normal and typically are not needed. Doctors diagnosis concussions by evaluating your symptoms and performing a neurological exam. Sometimes, computerized cognitive testing, like ImPACT, is used to help in the management of concussion.

3. No grading scale

Doctors no longer use a grading scale to classify concussions as mild or severe. Every concussion and every patient is unique.  Symptoms can last days, weeks or longer. Right now, there is no consensus on whether a patient’s initial symptoms can help predict how long it will take them to recover. However, there’s a lot of research being conducted on this topic right now.

4. Give your brain a rest

The cornerstone of concussion treatment is both physical and cognitive rest so the brain can recover.  Athletes should not return to physical activity until they are symptom free and cleared by a medical provider.  Athletes should also rest from cognitive activities including school, homework, television and video games.

5. Return to play: 5 steps, 5 days – at a minimum

An athlete typically begins a return-to-play five-step protocol, under the guidance of their doctor when they’re:

  • symptom free at rest
  • participating fully in school and academics
  • have a normal neurologic exam
  • off medications that may mask concussion symptoms

Athletes typically progress through one step per day and should go back to a previous step if they start experiencing symptoms.

  • Light aerobic activity: walking or biking
  • Moderate aerobic activity: jogging or biking
  • Sports specific drills:  drills that include cutting and changing direction without contact
  • Full contact practice
  • Game participation without restrictions

Fairview concussion hotline

Fairview offers a sports concussion hotline to connect you quickly with providers to help diagnose and treat concussions. If you suspect a concussion, call 952-460-4440.

Walk-in clinic for sports injuries
Walk-in care is now available at Fairview Sports and Orthopedic Care in Blaine for injuries as broken bones, strains, sprains or tears. Doctors who specialize in sports medicine are ready to see you, six days a week—just stop in.


Sarah Kinsella, MD, is a sports medicine doctor who sees patients of all ages for acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and has a special interest in sports-related concussions and caring for pediatric athletes.

Sustainability Series: Healthy Food Systems


At Fairview Health Services, we strive to create a healthy food system within our facilities so we may provide an exceptional patient, family and staff experience, show our commitment to community and environmental health and serve as a role model to other health care organizations.

We also recognize the connection between healthy food and a healthy community and environment. Here are a few ways we help promote a healthy food system in our facilities.

Managing Food Waste

We ensure that we responsibly manage all food waste at our facilities. Here are a couple of ways we dispose of food waste to keep our environment and community healthy:

Composting – Since 2011, we’ve composted over 379 tons of food waste. We collect food scraps, such as fruit peels, eggshells, vegetable cores and coffee grinds, for composting. When food scraps are combined with oxygen, water and yard waste, bacteria break the materials down to create a nutrient rich top soil full of regenerating nutrients, reducing the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides

Food to Hogs – Since 2011, we’ve collected 151 tons of food scraps for the Food to Hogs Program. We collect food scraps (excluding meat, animal products or coffee grinds) and send it to a local farm where the food is cooked and fed to hogs. This program provides economical benefits for farmers and keeps food waste out of a landfill.

Partnering with Local Farmers

Locally grown food is critical in keeping a community healthy. Each year, we partner with local farmers to entourage members of our staff and community to eat fresh food as often as possible. Below are a few ways we work with local farmers to promote locally grown food.

Farm to Fairview Farmer’s Markets – During the summer growing season we host multiple farmers markets at different locations. These markets give our staff an opportunity to learn about how their food was grown while supporting the local community and healthy food choices.

Community Gardens – We opened our first community gardens where small plots of land are cultivated by local community members and staff. Our goal is to increase local food production, foster physical and emotional wellness and to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in the community.

Community Supported Agriculture Drop-Sites (CSAs) – We support local farmers who bring fresh and local produce directly to our employees through CSA drop-sites at our facilities. A weekly drop-off makes it convenient for our staff to have fresh produce on their dinner tables throughout the summer growing season.

Widespread flu brings temporary changes to visitor policies


We are acting to stem the spread of the flu virus by implementing a temporary visitor policy in our hospitals to reduce patient and employee exposure. The temporary policies will take effect Tuesday, December 16, and last the duration of the flu season. We have taken this step after the Minnesota Department of Health declared influenza to be widespread in the state.

We ask that you do not visit the hospital if you may have the flu or if you have close contact with someone who is sick.

  • Screen visitors for influenza-like symptoms or exposure to others with such symptoms. Visitors with influenza or exposure may not visit.
  • Limit visitors to 5 years and older.
  • Instruct patients and visitors on hand hygiene, limiting surfaces touched and use of personal protective equipment.

The hospitals will make exceptions to the visitor rules on a case-by-case basis, for compassionate reasons.

“Visitors play an important role in the comfort, care, healing and well-being of our patients,” says Steve Meisel, PharmD, CPPS, Fairview director of patient safety. “At the same time, our patients may be particularly vulnerable to contracting the flu and, if they do, it could set back their recovery. We believe these restrictions will safely balance both of these needs.”

Notification of hospital visitor restrictions is posted at facility entrances, on hospital websites and in waiting areas.

New Program Brings ‘Solace’ To Families At The End Of Life


It’s important to help patients receiving end-of-life care and their families feel at home.

That’s why Fairview Home Care and Hospice and Ebenezer Ridges are working together to improve end-of-life experience for patients and their families with their recently launched Solace program.

Apartments that fit the families

Solace, launched this fall, is a caregiving program housed in the Ebenezer Ridges campus that allows patients and their families to stay in apartments, rather than single rooms found in most hospice facilities.

The apartments welcome families, and even small pets, to stay with their loved ones, while patients receive 24-hour nursing care, meal service, chaplaincy, social work services and other services provided within the Ebenezer Ridges campus.

The apartments are furnished with a pull-out couch in the living room, a private bathroom, a patient bed in the bedroom, a full kitchen and housewares.

“We make sure the apartment fits the family. If they like to play board games as a family, we bring board games to the apartment,” says Brittany Peterson, housing manager.

“It’s about making those precious times better even when the loved one can’t be at home. And we’re right there with skilled care when they need it.”

Amenities for patients and families

Amenities on the Ebenezer Ridges campus include a community room, beauty salon, private meeting room and a chapel. Patients and families can also attend myriad programs, like musical performances, art classes and enrichment activities.

Fairview Home Care and Hospice, or another hospice program, can provide care within the Solace program

Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehab Center Gives Patients Opportunities to Get Fit

GeneBikeWhen Gene Delvaux suffered a heart attack in 2013, he was rushed to Fairview Southdale Hospital for emergency quadruple-bypass surgery.

After 30 therapy sessions, Gene thought he was ready to enter Fairview’s Wellness and Exercise for Life (WEL) Program but, before he could begin, he suffered a second heart attack.

Then another.

And another.

In just a few months, Gene had suffered four heart attacks.

When he was finally ready to enter the WEL Program again, he says he knew he would have to take his health and well-being into his own hands.

“I was extremely overweight when I entered [the WEL] Program,” he says. “Since I’ve been working out here, I’ve lost 30 pounds.”

The WEL Program is the third phase in our cardiac rehabilitation process. While the first two phases focus on hospital care and outpatient therapy, the WEL Program is designed to help patients exercise on their own and return to normal daily activities.

As part of the WEL Program, Gene works out three days a week at the Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehabilitation Center located in the new Ridges Specialty Care Center —a gym for patients that offers exercise equipment like stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights and strength-training machines.

“It has everything I think most people would need to stay in shape,” Gene says. “It compares favorably with any commercial gym I’ve ever been too.”

The Cardiac Rehab Center is just one unit within the new Fairview Ridges Specialty Care Center, which is also home to University of Minnesota Cancer and Heart Care and more, to help meet the needs of a growing community.

Heart attack survivor Gene Delvaux says the  Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehab Center, located within the Ridges Specialty Care Center, has had a “tremendous impact on my life.”

Heart attack survivor Gene Delvaux says the Fairview Ridges Cardiac Rehab Center, located within the Ridges Specialty Care Center, has had a “tremendous impact on my life.”

The largest specialty care center in the Minnesota River Valley, the center aims to provide all specialty care services in one convenient place.

At the center, cardiac rehab therapists offer exercise guidance and help patients design workout programs. They also offer to check patients’ blood pressure and heart rates when needed.

“The people here are wonderful,” Gene says. “I think that’s what separates this place from other gyms—it’s the people.”

Gene’s usual workout consists of a two-mile ride on a stationary bike followed by a three-mile walk on a treadmill. The routine has given Gene the results he wants, and he says he enjoys the camaraderie with the other patients who exercise there.

Gene even recommended his sister come to the rehab center to work out, even though she doesn’t suffer from heart problems.

“This is a place where anyone could come to exercise, even if they don’t have heart trouble,” Gene says. “It’s had a tremendous impact on my life, and I don’t see a time where I’d quit.”

University of Minnesota Heart Care offers a comprehensive range of cardiovascular services, including cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, advanced heart failure care, congenital heart disease, preventive cardiology, pulmonary hypertension and diagnosis and treatment of women’s heart disease delivered at clinics and hospitals throughout the system. To learn more, visit: